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How Does A Virtual Private Network Work

If you’re reading this, I assume you’re either a small business owner who’s looking to expand your reach, or an IT professional who manages a small team supporting multiple businesses.

If you’re in a large organization, you might be tempted to consider a virtual private network (VPN) solution, especially if your current methods of connection aren’t up to par. After all, VPNs offer a range of benefits, from shielding your organization from costly security breaches to providing the flexibility to work remotely.

So you’ve decided that the world of VPNs is for you. Congrats! There are many great things about virtual private networks (VPNs), and it’s a good idea to consider getting a VPN to protect your privacy and security online.

Here’s a quick primer on what a VPN is and how it works.

Basic Information

First off, a virtual private network is a type of VPN that runs in the cloud. This makes it easier to use and more secure because you don’t need to worry about downloading or installing any software on your device. Moreover, since your VPN data is stored on a remote server, you don’t have to worry about hackers stealing your personal information. You can read more about the differences between various types of VPNs and which one suits your needs best in the next section.

Types Of VPNs

There are many types of VPNs, but not all of them are created equal. Take the time to do some research before investing in one and make sure that you’re getting the best service for your needs. Here are some of the most common types of VPNs:

Secure Sockets Layer (also known as SSL) VPNs

If you take a look at the acronym “SSL,” you’ll know what type of VPN it is. SSL stands for “Secure Sockets Layer.” The main purpose of an SSL VPN is to provide a safe and secure way to connect to public Wi-Fi networks. When an SSL VPN is enabled, your browser will display a lock icon in the address bar. When you surf the web with this enabled, you’ll be presented with a small key icon in the address bar to signify that your connection is encrypted. You’ll also notice that all of the web pages will load a lot quicker than usual because the servers your web browser is connecting to are physically located in a different country than the one you’re in. Since all of your data is encrypted as it travels to and from the server, hackers can’t eavesdrop on your communication. If you decide to try an SSL VPN, make sure to purchase a reputable and reliable company for the best chance of security and privacy.

L2TP/IPSec VPNs

L2TP (Layer Two Tunneling Protocol) and IPSec (Internet Protocol Security) are two ways of protecting data while it’s travelling over a network. If you’ve ever used PGP (Pretty Good Privacy), you’ll know that L2TP/IPSec are widely used as a replacement for PGP because they offer similar features. Essentially, L2TP/IPSec allow for the creation of a secure “tunnel” between your device and the VPN server so that all of your internet traffic is safe and secure. You can read more about these types of VPNs in our guide to the best VPNs.

OpenVPN

OpenVPN is one of the most popular and reliable VPNs available. It was originally launched in 1999 and has since been adopted by governments, businesses, and individuals as a safe and secure way to communicate online. You’ll often encounter OpenVPN in lists of the best VPNs because of its popularity. Like most VPNs, OpenVPN provides fast, stable, and secure connections to users both in and outside of your country. Like L2TP/IPSec, OpenVPN also allows for the creation of secure tunnels so that your traffic is kept private while you’re connected to a public Wi-Fi network. OpenVPN is also one of the most flexible VPNs around and is compatible with a variety of devices and platforms.

PPTP VPNs

PPTP (Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol) VPNs are a type of VPN that was designed to be simpler and more convenient to use than OpenVPN. Like its predecessor PGP, PPTP is a secure VPN protocol and has been adopted by several large companies and internet service providers. A PPTP VPN will look like any other secure VPN when you first download and install it, but you’ll need to log in to access your network settings. These settings will guide you on how to connect to your VPN server. You can choose to connect to a military-grade VPN server (if you’re in the U.S. or Canada) or an encrypted connection if you’re in another country. Like most VPNs, a PPTP VPN works best when used with a dedicated hardware device such as a VPN server or a dedicated router. It is also widely supported by all of the popular web browsers.

How Do VPNs Work?

VPNs were designed to be as simple to use as possible, so users can have a smooth and seamless experience no matter what device they’re using. When you install and configure a VPN on your device, it will create a dedicated port on your device’s network interface through which all of your internet traffic is sent. This dedicated port is also used to send all of the data that is being encrypted, so you don’t have to worry about any apps or software running in the background while you’re using your device. When you connect to a VPN, your device will automatically create a new address for all of your internet traffic so that it can be easily tracked and routed.

Privacy Concerns

One of the main reasons why you might want to get a VPN is to protect your security and privacy on the internet and while using public Wi-Fi networks. When you’re connected to a public Wi-Fi network, your data is open to everyone around you (even if they don’t have your permission to see it). A VPN will encrypt all of your traffic and ensure that no one can intercept or read your personal information. Moreover, when you visit a website that is hosted on an unsecure server or uses an unencrypted connection, all of the information you provide is easily accessible to anyone who is tracking your online activity. A VPN can also be used to prevent your personal information from being sold to third parties.

Additional Considerations

Like most things in life, nothing is perfect. There are several things you need to consider before buying a VPN as follows:

Cost

One of the first things you need to check before buying a VPN is its cost. Even though VPNs are relatively cheap, there are several companies out there that offer incredible pricing if you’re a regular user or sign up for a discounted plan. It’s also important to look at all of the add-ons and features that each plan offers. You wouldn’t want to purchase a VPN plan that doesn’t have the features you need or want. Keep in mind that the cost of a VPN will vary based on the type of plan you choose and where you live. Plans that offer unlimted bandwidth and servers that are located in different countries tend to be more expensive than regular plans.

Speed

Just because your device has a fast internet connection doesn’t mean it will be able to connect quickly to a VPN. To ensure you get the speed you’re paying for, it’s important to purchase a VPN that is compatible with your device. If you have a limited number of devices or internet bundles, consider investing in a VPN that supports multiple platforms and devices. This way, you can use the same VPN even on your mobile devices and laptop. Most VPNs offer great speeds and are frequently the preferred choice of speed enthusiasts who need to get work done quickly.

Features

One of the coolest things about VPNs is their feature set. Most of them offer an incredible number of features, including the following:

  • Speed
  • Security
  • Privacy
  • Convenience
  • Location
  • Bandwidth
  • Server
  • Smart Phone App
  • Chrome Extension

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If you’re looking for a VPN that offers a lot of features and is easy to use, then take a look at the NordVPN website. They’ve got a lot of wonderful features and are highly secure and private. However, you’ll need to be fairly tech-savvy to use all of their features, and they don’t have any apps available for Android or iOS devices at the moment.

Support

One of the most important things to consider when buying a VPN is its support. If you’re searching online for a specific answer to a question you might have, it’s important to try and find a good support team that is available via email or live chat. You don’t want to buy a VPN that doesn’t have the excellent customer support you’re looking for.

Benefits Of A Virtual Private Network

Let’s take a quick look at the key reasons why you might want to consider a VPN for your organization.

  • To provide a secure and reliable connection to your employee’s, suppliers’, and customers’ networks
  • To increase your organization’s comfort level when using public Wi-Fi
  • To prevent costly security breaches
  • To provide the flexibility to work remotely when needed
  • To ensure the confidentiality of your organization’s most sensitive information

Security

The most obvious and, in today’s world, most critical advantage of a VPN is its ability to provide a secure connection to increase the comfort level of your employees, suppliers, and customers.

VPNs can be combined with other technologies like firewall protection, data loss prevention/protection, and intrusion detection to form a highly effective security solution. Plus, the services offered by most VPN providers are virtually cost-free, making this solution potentially budget-friendly.

There’s a reason why VPNs are also known as ‘secret Internet connections’ – not only do they provide a secure environment enabling your employees to connect to resources and networks as intended, they also keep your organization’s most sensitive information secure from eavesdroppers (people who watch your network traffic without your knowledge).

If you’re looking for a security solution that doesn’t require constant attention and maintenance, a VPN is a great choice. This is also one area where you might want to consider an offshore location, as much as possible, since a lot of the big-name VPN services offer extremely high levels of encryption, making it more difficult for hackers to intercept your network traffic.

Remote Work

One of the biggest advantages of a VPN is enabling remote workers to connect to networks and resources, without having to constantly worry about whether or not they’re going to connect successfully.

For example, if you’re a business owner who needs to be able to connect to your bank account to download your payroll deposits, you can’t always be sure that your existing Internet service provider will accept remote connections, or that your bank will even grant you access to your account information remotely.

With a VPN, this is no longer a concern. You tell the provider your bank’s URL, and they give you the login credentials you need to access your account information remotely. So, even if you’re not in the office, you can still get the work done that needs to be done. This can be a huge timesaver for business owners and managers, as well as those who work remotely for your organization.

Flexibility

Another big advantage of a VPN is its ability to provide remote workers with the flexibility they need to get their jobs done. Employees can connect to networks and resources, including printers, shared folders, and even computers, without having to be physically located next to them.

This is particularly useful for those who work from home, or for people who need to occasionally connect to work-related networks and resources from locations where network coverage is poor, or restricted.

As an IT professional who supports a distributed team, you might want to consider looking into a VPN solution that allows you to securely connect to your organization’s networks from any location, as well as provides you with the flexibility to securely access resources and networks, wherever you are. This way, you can ensure your team has the network connectivity they need, when they need it, even if you’re not physically located next to them.

As we’ve established, a VPN provides your organization with a number of advantages, including increased security, flexibility, and the ability to work remotely.

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